These millionaire bars have a rich chocolate ganache that sits on the gooey caramel layer, which is stacked on a buttery shortbread base making these little sweet treats decadent, gourmet, and tasty.
I made millionaire’s cake for the first time a while back, and quickly realized what the hype was about. While these little bars are sweet, decadent, and totally worthy of the millionaire title, you may end up calling them billionaire bars instead. This layered dessert is so rich and silky, it almost melts in your mouth. The richness kind of reminds me of homemade fudge.
One of my favorite parts about a cookie bar recipe is how great the baked crust can hold the rest of the dessert. I really hate when they crumble! My apple cheesecake bars are made with an easy shortbread crust similar to this one, and my biscoff blondies are like heaven in a square.
- unsalted butter – soften at room temperature.
- sugar – you’ll need white and light brown sugar.
- vanilla extract and salt – act as flavor enhancers and makes the best buttery shortbread crust.
- cake flour – keeps the shortbread layer light and fluffy; if you use all-purpose flour, the recipe will work, the shortbread will be heavier with a bit more chew than flake.
- unsalted butter – softened butter mixes the easiest and leaves the caramel smooth.
- light brown sugar – be sure to pack when measuring.
- sweetened condensed milk – sweetens and thickens the caramel, making it ultra creamy.
- light corn syrup – reduces graininess from the sugar and helps stabilize the finished caramel so that it holds its shape but remains soft.
- vanilla extract and salt – adds an extra flavor boost.
- semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream – to make a silky and thick chocolate ganache.
- Flaky sea salt – for the topping.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Millionaire’s shortbread bars are best when sprinkled with flakey sea salt, which compliments the homemade caramel filling very well.
Substitutions and Variations
- Butter – we used unsalted, but salted butter can be used as well and the bars will still have a delicious flavor.
- Dark chocolate ganache – we used semi sweet chocolate chips, but you can also top the soft caramel with my dark chocolate ganache recipe.
- White chocolate – to switch things up you could swirl melted white chocolate into the ganache.
- Different pan size – using an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan will give you nice and thick bars. You can also use a 9×13 baking dish and make thinner squares.
- Toppings – you can also add mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, candies, or crushed pretzels to the top before the chocolate sets.
PREP: Line a square baking dish with parchment paper (make sure it covers the sides of the pan) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 1: Beat the butter in a large bowl using a hand mixer.
Step 2: Add the sugars and mix into the butter on medium speed. Beat in the vanilla.
Step 3: Pour in the salt and flour, then mix just until combined.
Step 4: Press the mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish.
Pro Tip: To make spreading the crust easier, use a greased spatula.
Step 5: Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown around the edges and set in the center. Allow it to cool.
Step 6: In a medium saucepan, add all of the caramel ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat while whisking constantly.
Step 7: Use a candy thermometer to bring the mixture to 225 degrees. This could take 20-30 minutes. Continue stirring throughout the process.
Step 8: Remove the caramel from the stovetop and pour the caramel on top of the cooled crust. Spread to the edges. Chill for 30 minutes so the caramel has time to firm up and doesn’t move when we add the chocolate layer.
Step 9: Combine the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each cycle, until the chocolate melts into a thick smooth mixture.
Step 10: Spread the melted chocolate ganache over the caramel. Add a sprinkle of sea salt across the top and chill for at least 30 minutes so the chocolate glaze can set.
SLICE: Lift the millionaire shortbread bars from the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Slice into small squares and serve.
Recipe Tips for Millionaire Shortbread Bars
- Some like to use a double boiler to make the chocolate topping, but microwaving is easiest.
- This recipe makes a sweet bar, so while it yields 16 servings, you can slice them into smaller squares.
- The shortbread recipe is not traditional (usually flour, butter, and sugar mixed in a food processor). Instead the creamed butter and sugars gives it a chewier base that is softer, and easier to bite into while still keeping the same great flavor of the original buttery cookie.
- For best results, constantly stir the caramel and do not let it boil, or else it may burn to the pan.
While the name of these bars may have came from Scotland, caramel shortbreads started in the 1970s.
Keep leftover bars for 7 days in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. To freeze, place the bars on a sheet pan and into the freezer until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag or wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil.
A “millionaire’s bar” dessert is a type of sweet treat that typically consists of layers of ingredients such as shortbread or cookie crust, caramel, and chocolate. The name “millionaire’s bar” is likely used for this dessert because of its rich and indulgent ingredients, which give it a luxurious and decadent quality.
If you tried this Millionaire Bar Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Flakey sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the granulated and brown sugar and beat until creamed together well. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Add cake flour and salt and mix just until combined.
- Use a greased spatula or fingers to pat the shortbread mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until shortbread is golden brown around the edges and set in the center. Cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the caramel by placing all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk constantly until mixture is fully melted and comes to a boil (do not increase the temperature.)
- Fit the saucepan with a candy thermometer and continue whisking and cooking until the caramel reaches the soft ball stage – 225°F. This process can take 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and pour over the baked shortbread, spreading it smooth to the edges.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes to firm up the caramel so that it does not displace when the ganache is added.
- To make the ganache, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring/whisking between intervals until the chocolate melts and the ganache comes together in a thick, smooth mixture.
- Spread the ganache over the caramel. Sprinkle flakey sea salt over the top of the ganache and place in the refrigerator to chill or at least 30 minutes or until the ganache is set.
- Lift the dessert from the pan and cut into bars with a sharp knife.